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Jaap van Zweden 2

Mahler Festival 2025 in Amsterdam: Berliner Philharmoniker, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Budapest Festival Orchestra, NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo and the Concertgebouworkest

Start passepartoutverkoop 14 november | Orkesten van drie continenten in Amsterdam voor groots eerbetoon aan componist Gustav Mahler

The Concertgebouw will welcome top orchestras from three continents to the third Mahler Festival in its history. This ten-day event will be opened by the Concertgebouw Orchestra with Klaus Mäkelä conducting the First Symphony, followed later in the festival by Mahler’s Eighth, the Symphony of a Thousand. Conductor Jaap van Zweden will conduct Symphonies No. 6 and No. 7 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The acclaimed Berlin Philharmonic led by principal conductor Kirill Petrenko and guest-conductor Daniel Barenboim will also perform during the festival, in which Mahler’s ten symphonies as well as all his songs can be heard. Tokyo’s NHK Symphony Orchestra visits Europe for the festival led by chief conductor Fabio Luisi. Iván Fischer finishes off the line-up with his Budapest Festival Orchestra.

Gustav Mahler and his second musical homeland

Composer and conductor Gustav Mahler had a strong bond with The Concertgebouw. To conductor Willem Mengelberg he wrote that he found ‘his second musical homeland’ in Amsterdam. He conducted his own symphonies with the Concertgebouw Orchestra several times and was honoured by the attention and enthusiasm shown by Amsterdam audiences. As an homage to the composer, Conductor Willem Mengelberg organised the first Mahler Festival in 1920 to mark his 25th anniversary conducting. Amsterdam audiences’ love of Mahler has only grown with time. In 1995, the Concertgebouw organised another Mahler Festival, bringing together the world’s best orchestras for consecutive performances of the composer’s complete symphonic works in chronological order. A new Mahler Festival was planned for 2020 but had to be cancelled due to the corona pandemic.

Marina Mahler, granddaughter of the composer:

‘It’s very special to see the Concertgebouw paying tribute to Mahler’s universe in Amsterdam, a city Mahler truly loved and that honoured him in his lifetime and continues to do so today.'

Simon Reinink, managing director of The Concertgebouw :

‘It gives us great pride as the Concertgebouw to be able to present this Mahler Festival in May 2025. For the first time in history orchestras from three different continents will participate: besides European orchestra’s also an American and an Asian orchestra. Thereby we demonstrate that Gustav Mahler is one of most loved composers worldwide.’

Jaap van Zweden, conductor Chicago Symphony Orchestra:

'Mahler led a life full of contradictions: the rollercoaster he experienced in his family life, his divergent feelings about human existence. It's all in his music. ’

Fabio Luisi, chief conductor of the NHK Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo:

‘“The symphony must be like the world. It must encompass everything.” This quote, probably taken from a conversation between Mahler and Sibelius, perfectly describes Mahler’s Third Symphony. The work marks a change after the Second Symphony, in which Mahler ‒ as in his Fourth ‒ yearns to explore “the last things (de letzten Dinge”.’

Daniel Barenboim, conductor Berliner Philharmoniker:

‘Neither The Song of the Earth nor his Tenth Symphony had been performed in public when Mahler died in 1911. In fact, the existence of sketches of this last symphony was hardly known. It’s a wonderful piece that I’ve often had the pleasure of conducting. Today, it’s as important to the development of music as when it was first composed and performed. The Tenth is and remains music of the future.’

Discover the full festival programme at www.mahlerfestival.nl